How much Hebrew is needed to work in special needs school?

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Post  Thu, May 14 2020, 12:52 am
I work with kids that have severe physical and intellectual disabilities and aren’t able to speak much. I help them develop their speech and also help them learn to use special computers to communicate. Would I be able to find work in an Israeli special needs school if my Hebrew is heavily accented and my dikduk isn’t great? Here in the U.S. I have colleagues with thick Russian and Spanish accents, so it’s doable in the States, but maybe not in EY?
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Post  Thu, May 14 2020, 1:13 am
That's how I started out. I showed up in Israel with no hebrew to do sheirut Leumi in a school for kids with severe autism.

The staff were kind, and I was persistent, and it helps to learn Hebrew when a kid asks you to read the same book 50 times in a row! LOL it was a pretty good ulpan, actually. Certainly it brought me up to level 4-5 by the time I got to a real ulpan. And there were other workers there, Druze and Arab, who's whose Hebrew was around the same level as mine, so I know I wasn't a special case.
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Post  Thu, May 14 2020, 1:53 am
My friend works with non verbal adults with special needs, but it's an institution where they generally care for them physically. Ie changing diapers, feeding etc. With kids you can get away with weak Hebrew, but it could be awkward when trying to talk with colleagues, parents who want to know how their kid is progressing (Israelis are a lot more involved in their kids' education than what I was used to in chu"l) and it could frustrate kids who do have some abilities to interact
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Post  Thu, May 14 2020, 3:29 am
Do you need a degree or certificate to work with SN kids?

I have a friend who wants to make Aliyah, and she's interested. She can also work with the elderly.

I've advised her to start learning conversational Hebrew NOW.
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Post  Thu, May 14 2020, 3:53 am
I think it depends on the specifics.

Kids with severe autism - as long as you can communicate with the other staff members, and can have a basic conversation, you should be OK.

Kids with high functioning autism - an accent is OK but a heavy accent or poor grammar might be a problem, since a lot of the focus is on teaching kids to speak properly (but this is stuff you can work on).

Adults with special needs - an accent or poor grammar would be less problematic here, but you'd need to be more conversant (IE grammar is less important, vocabulary more so).

It also depends what exactly you're doing with them - eg if you're the speech therapist, proper speech is going to be more important than if you're doing physical therapy or art therapy.

Long story short, it will limit your options, but you should still be able to find a job. And if you work hard at Hebrew, you should have more and more options as time goes on.
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Post  Thu, May 14 2020, 3:56 am
How is your vocabulary and ability to converse? If you are helping children to develop their abilty to converse, not being able to speak the language properly could weigh against you. If you are applying for a job, and others with comparable qualifications and better hebrew are also applying, you would be at a disadvantage.
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Post  Thu, May 14 2020, 3:59 am
My mother in the Netherlands works with elderly demented people, she once got a colleague who didn't speak Dutch very well but they needed to have a nurse because there is a huge shortage. This nurse was Polish and spoke only Polish and Russian in the beginning, she said she only wanted to nurse the ppl who are not able to communicate anymore because she finds communication really important ''I'm going to work with my heart and feeling till I'm able to speak Dutch''. So that was what she did. And for months you could hear cute Polish and Russian lullabies and songs. The patients enjoyed it, they had a connection. So yeah u can.
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Post  Thu, May 14 2020, 4:17 am
Are you as speech therapist or a shadow/aid? There is a large demand for shadows in schools but that doesn’t pay much.
If you’re a licensed speech therapist, you’d probably need to pass a licensing test here too. I know a speech therapist who works specifically with English speaking clients. In Anglo area.
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